The Band's eight-foot bass drum died yesterday.
The sudden cold popped open a hole between one ageing cowhide head and the frame, thus ending 28 years of service, the last three spent in enforced silence.
Once, its resonant boom filled the Stadium, however, and in time it became almost as much a part of Harvard football as the Crimson teams. During its lifetime, it never missed a varsity game even during the last silent years.
From its inception, the drum boasted a colorful career. It was obtained from the Associated Harvard Clubs, who in 1927, told the Band to buy itself a drum. The bandsmen bought a drum indeed--the biggest in the world.
Conquer Old Eli
Its history was full of attempts to play, smash, or steal it, and once, it did almost a better job of stopping Yale than the football team. I 1947, an overzealous Eli fan ran onto the filed and tried to crash through the cowhide heads. There was a tremendous bang, but the Yalie ended up unconscious and the big drum still intact.
There was never much trouble getting it to Soldiers Field on its custom-built bicycle-wheeled carriage, but travel was another matter. In 1948, for example, when the varsity played at Princeton, the band truck was not big enough to hold the drum. Eventually, it made the trip in time aboard a specially chartered plane.
Bandsmen have realized for some time that their symbol would soon need replacing. Already, they are attempting to locate firm equipped to build a new drum, and a cow equipped to provide the large heads.
But there is no carte blanche gift from the Harvard Clubs this time, and the bandsmen estimate that it will take at least $1,500 for a replacement. If they can get the money in time, they hope to be able to field a now drum by next season.
The old drum did not decline unnoticed, however, Guide Cautelli, guest conductor of the Boston Symphony asked to use the drum last month--for Verdi's Requiem. Now, the instrument will get a requiem of its own, from the Band. Nothing morbid or elaborate, you understand, but "winter green."